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Old 09.01.2009, 22:08
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Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Hey,

Has anyone here been to either Cambodia or Laos? We are going to go to Vietnam at the end of the year but want to extend our stay by visiting either of these country's. We just can't decide which.....

Would be great to hear from people who've been
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Old 09.01.2009, 22:34
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Well, there's the wonderful Angkor Wat in Siemreap in Cambodia and Phnom Penh is rather atmospheric and full of character.
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Old 09.01.2009, 23:40
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Ive been to Laos although it was 12 years ago now and it was brilliant. I went in from Huang Xai in the northwest corner then took a longtail boat down the mekong to Luang Prabang which is a small town with no less than 29 temples, then flew to the Plane of Jars for 35 dollars in an old russian aeroflot plane which was unforgetable for a number of reason flew back (couldnt go by land at that time because of UXB from the war) and then headed down to Vientienne to finish off. It was such an undeveloped, raw country - roads didnt exist to a lot of places, that it provided the real step back to reality I was looking for then. if your after hotels and luxury by the pool i would give it a miss though.

mike
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Old 10.01.2009, 01:24
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

I was traveling around south est Asia for a while. They have some exitings place to visit, everything depend of the time you have.
The conexions are not so easy, and really hard some times. if you are in south Vietnam so is easy way to go to cambodia, but if your plan is in the north Vietnam, Wich is so cold in dezember, (I would not recomended it), and after go to the south, Luang Prabang is a beatifull city! I love it.
So according the time you have I could advice you better.
But is better if you avoid the winter, because north Vietnam has really nice see to swing in a short 3 4 days boat tour.
Dont hesitate to contact me if you want more information
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Old 10.01.2009, 01:45
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

I have a few photos if you want to have a look...

Laos

Cambodia

Khmer Rouge Prison,


My favorite Places:

Muang Ngoi, Laos. A paradise Village with no electricity and only accessable by boat.


A three day trek up north by Muang Khua, We were the first westerners to wisit some of these villages. Laos


Kampong Chnang, Cambodia. A floating village of houseboats. Can be visited on the way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.


A visit to S21 Toul Sleng in Phnom Pehn is not something you will forget.

The Thorntree forum at the Lonely planet site is full of usefull information. The most important things is to find out where the official border crossings are, and plan your trip accordingly.
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Old 10.01.2009, 02:09
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

I hv not been to Laos,
but i hv been to Phnom Penh and also Siem Reap...
both are wonderful place to be....

lots of things to see, to explore, to try, and to buy... in phnom penh :
the haunting and eerie Tuol Sleng Museum is a must, the Choeung Ek Killing Field though a little far from city, but shouldnt be missed, the gorgeous and distinctive National Museum of Cambodia which displayed some of the most amazing sculpture and artifacts might give you a better understanding of the people and the country, then you could catch a glimpse of royal life at the opulent Royal Palace and silver pagoda....

There are numerous markets around the city to shop till you drop!!!
The unique russian market, the gigantic central market to name a few...

and for Siem Reap/Angkor (UNESCO World Heritage Sites), the sheer beauty of Bayon Temples, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bantrey Srei, and all the other ruins simply takes your breath away! Plain words just could not describe these amazing temples... and the night scene back at the city of siem reap is worth a mentioned...

Nevertheless, i had one of my best time ....in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

and i think you should really consider cambodia for all the different cultures, the beautiful people, the breathtaking monuments, and most important, it is cheap and safe!

p/s : i dont work for Cambodia Tourism
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Old 10.01.2009, 03:18
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

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I hv not been to Laos,
but i hv been to Phnom Penh and also Siem Reap...
both are wonderful place to be... siem reap is worth a mentioned...

... i had one of my best time ....in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

and i think you should really consider cambodia for all the different cultures, the beautiful people, the breathtaking monuments, and most important, it is cheap and safe!
I too highly suggest Siem Reap - went in Nov 2000 when SilkAir had its inaugural flight with a package. Very affordable and safe.

http://www.silkair.com/mbe/en_UK/con...nations/kh.jsp

Last edited by jrspet; 10.01.2009 at 03:32.
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  #8  
Old 10.01.2009, 09:56
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

As other have said, Ankor Watt is unbelievable. But I would recommend anybody who wants to go to do it sooner rather than later because there's so much building going on in Siem Reap that the area will soon be like Disneyland. When I went five years ago you could pretty much roam the temples at will with few restrictions. Now, for good reasons, things are getting roped off so you can't get up close to certain sculptures and friezes. It will always be an unforgettable experience but once development truly takes hold it will lose some of it's magic.
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Old 10.01.2009, 22:14
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Wow, thanks for the replies!

We have about 2 weeks to spend in either place.... both sound and look amazing, it's impossible to decide! Need more time and money (as always)
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Old 10.01.2009, 23:24
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

If you could specify your intinerary in Vietnam, and how you will be flying, that would help.

If you are flying to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Hanoi and then travelling from Hanoi overland to Saigon, I would go to Phnom Penh via the Mekong delta, stop in Kampong Chnang to look at the floating villages and then off to Siem Reap. From Siem Reap I´d take a taxi to Poipet/Aranyaprahet and a bus to Bangkok.

One of the most famous tourist scams is the overland route between Bangkok and Siem Reap. But that seems only to apply in the other direction (cheap bus tickets in Khao san etc.)

Another interesting thing would be if you would only take half of Vietnam and then cross over to Laos. But it all depends on what you already have planned and available border crossings.
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Old 11.01.2009, 07:05
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

So far we have not booked any flights. All we know is that we will at some point go overland fom Hanoi to Ho Minh Chi.

We will either:

Start in Bangkok and go up to Chaing Mai and into Laos and onwards, eventually getting a flight out of Vietnam

or

Start in Hanoi, work down to Ho Minh Chi and then go back to Bangkok overland via Cambodia.

We plan to go from Mid October to End November. (about 5 1/2 weeks)

We just don't think we have time to do all 3, especially as we do not want to make any flight connections if possible. Deciding which route to take is impossible! Is there much in cambodia outside of Angkor Wat to see (easily)? Rough guides have been ordered.....

Also, we will be pack-packing and making our own way, not really into the whole pool 'n' luxory hotel thing. Yet.
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Old 12.01.2009, 13:20
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

If you start from Mid October, you should go to Hanoi first, then Ho Chi Minh city (sorry not Ho Minh Chi, I am Vietnamses anyway ). From Ho Chi Minh city, you can go to Cambodia very near and easily by bus or air. From Phnompenh, you can fly or take a bus to Bangkok.

Why I suggest so because the weather in Hanoi (or the north of VN) is best in October (not too hot, not too cold). Ho chi minh city, bangkok and Cambodia are hot around the year. Sapa in the north VN is worth visiting, the beach in the middle VN is also very nice, Hochiminh city is not very interesting for me, but the Mekong delta is really wonderful. I was just in Bangkok, not anywhere else in Thailand.

Hostels, eating... in VN are very cheap.
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Old 12.01.2009, 13:56
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Hi,

I was in Cambodia and Thailand last year and I really loved Angkor Wat. I think that is one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever visited. And it is near the Tonle Sap lake (hope you spell like that) that hosts lots of "floating" cities which are well worth a visit. If you do not like to fly I think that a good experience would be to take the boat along the Mekong river/Tonle Sap lake that connects Phnom Phen to Siem Reap. It must be a fantastic experience. I was on a standard "guided tour". In fact I was pregnant at the time and as I did not want to give up the holiday I decided that this would have been a good compromise. However I think that back packing and talking to locals is a fantastic experience. Cambodia looked pretty safe to me, but you always have to be careful not to go outside "safe" tracks as there could be landmines. In Siem Reap there is a children hospital that was founded by a Swiss. Our Cambodian guide said it works very well and provides a wonderful service to Cambodian children and mums to be. For once I am happy to support a charity as I have witnessed the good use that is done with our money.

Have a wonderful time
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Old 15.01.2009, 08:27
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

My family and I were in Vietnam two years ago at about the same time. We toured the Mekong delta, and would have loved to be able to go to Cambodia if time had allowed. Apparently you can get deep fried tarantula there...

So - my advice would be Cambodia.
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Old 19.05.2011, 09:50
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Hello! A lost very good information already posted about cambodia but I have few specific questions:
- I am planning to go there in the second half of September. I know is the "wet season" but I heard it is not too bad, just some "showers" in the afternoon but no heavy rain the whole day. Is it true?
- I read many comments about Angkor temples, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap... I hard there are also beautiful beaches, nice as in Thailand but much less touristic. Anyone been there?
- I am thinking to fly to Bangkok and then take another flight to Cambodia from there. Does it make sense or is it better/more typical to cross the border by bus? In particular to go first to Siem Teap and Angkor.
Any other suggestion in general about Cambodia is more than welocome!
Thank you!
Lorenzo
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Old 19.05.2011, 11:12
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Quote:
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Hello! A lost very good information already posted about cambodia but I have few specific questions:
- I am planning to go there in the second half of September. I know is the "wet season" but I heard it is not too bad, just some "showers" in the afternoon but no heavy rain the whole day. Is it true?
- I read many comments about Angkor temples, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap... I hard there are also beautiful beaches, nice as in Thailand but much less touristic. Anyone been there?
- I am thinking to fly to Bangkok and then take another flight to Cambodia from there. Does it make sense or is it better/more typical to cross the border by bus? In particular to go first to Siem Teap and Angkor.
Any other suggestion in general about Cambodia is more than welocome!
Thank you!
Lorenzo
I have been to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam a couple of weeks ago.

1. I loved Cambodia, nicest part of my vacation.

2. There is no beach anywhere near Angkor, it is in the middle of the country. I have heard the beaches in the very south of Cambodia are nice, but have not been there myself.

3. I would absolutely not go by bus but take the plane from Bangkok: The border region is still disputed and there are regularly fights between Thai and Cambodian forces... and the bus ride must be horribly long, especially in the wet season.

4. I would do some more research on the weather. Our guide told us that in Angkor, the wet season is "really wet". I climbed many of the temples and honestly: I really doubt you can do that in rain, it must be pretty dangerous to climb very steep stairs of natural stone then.
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Old 19.05.2011, 11:48
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Thank you very much for the feedback! How long did you stay in around Angkor? How did you move around visiting different temples?
I am going to check the weather and also th beaches in the south.
Take care
Lorenzo
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Old 19.05.2011, 12:36
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

Visited Vientiane and Luang Prabang recently. Would recommend a longer stay in the latter than in the Laotian capital. Also, a lovely, eco- and community-conscious jungle riverside resort with 5 glass-fronted chalets on stilts facing a mountain and Nam Khan river, half an hour's drive from Luang Prabang - Lao Spirit. They are on the Internet.

Took a 10-hour bus ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang winding through beautiful limestone mountains. You can also fly for US$88 (one way). If you're looking for a quaint guest-house, Villa Lao in Vientiane is lovely with traditional architecture and a beautiful garden (Laotian cooking class offered on the premises too).

Next time, will be sure to visit the southern region of Laos. November till February are said to be cooler months.
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Old 19.05.2011, 12:49
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

If you can't decide, then visit both
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Old 19.05.2011, 13:02
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Re: Cambodia or Laos information wanted

This time I will have to be "selective" so I would focus on Cambodia. Still a couple of areas and Angkor / Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, the few days on the southern coast. Looks like nobody went to the beaches but I read they are beautiful...
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